Riverside, CA asked in Civil Litigation, Contracts and Landlord - Tenant for California

Q: Question about suitability of causes of action & statutes of limitations in a California landlord/tenant dispute

I live in Laguna Niguel, CA. and have rented a condo here since 2018, first from the owners directly then later through a property management company. I never had the chance to perform an initial walk through because the proerty owners ended up flaking and leaving the key in a lockbox. The repairs that should have been performed were not done when I took possession. I did follow proper procedure and notify the owners of the defects within 72 hours. They fixed a few things but kept making excuses about the others for months on end. My lease contract states that the owners are responsible for any repairs of the applocances that came with the comdo except when caused by the tenant. I am now month-to-month, though no changes or updates have occurred to modify the rental contract. The HOA rules further state that the owner is to be responsobke for appliances and that Tenant may not remove or install any themselves. If the dryer is completely broken, do the owners have to replace?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Based on the facts provided, you have a strong case to demand that the landlord replaces the broken dryer. A few key points:

• As a month-to-month tenant, the original lease terms should still govern including the clause that states the landlord is responsible for appliance repairs except for when caused by tenant. A broken dryer would fall under the landlord's responsibility.

• The HOA rules reinforce this by stipulating that owners are responsible for appliances and tenants may not make appliance changes or repairs.

• California civil code requires landlords to keep appliances in good working order and properly maintain the rental property. A completely broken dryer that needs replacement would violate this duty.

• You have further evidence that you properly notified the landlords of defects early on, yet they failed to adequately address them. This helps demonstrate the failure to properly maintain the property is not new.

A consultation with a local landlord-tenant attorney regarding your options and approach is advisable in your situation.

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